A grease trap is a necessary staple in the food service industry. Grease traps have been around for over a century now and are typically found in restaurants, bars, and hotels. Since grease is a particularly pervasive and tenacious substance that sticks to walls and pipes, a device to contain and separate grease is essential. If the traps aren’t properly taken care of and cleaned, you might end up needing a plumbing emergency service to set things right.
Most grease traps work in the same way: used water enters the grease traps and slowly flows through, allowing the water to cool and separate into grease, water, and solids. This means that both solids and grease accumulate in the trap while the water flows out and drains are kept safe from damage and blockages.
Because grease traps work so well, it can be easy to forget that they also require regular maintenance and checks. However, not cleaning or emptying your grease trap could lead to some nasty consequences, including the build-up of grease and food backing up into the inlet.
Below are the top 5 reasons why you need to pay attention to your grease trap:
1. Keep Your Kitchen Clean
If you own or run a commercial kitchen in a restaurant or hotel, it’s vital that your workspace is highly hygienic. When working with food it is imperative that the space is maintained and cleaned regularly.
Though your grease trap might be out of sight, it should not be out of mind. Instead, you should aim to clean out the grease trap at least every three months, but a monthly clean is ideal. Another way to tell if your grease trap needs to be cleaned if the trap is 25% full of fats, grease, or food solids. Alongside deep cleans, grease should be removed about once a week.
If you work in a particularly busy kitchen, you might want to schedule a regular appointment with a local plumbing company so that you’re never late cleaning out the grease trap. Professional plumbers also have the advantage of industrial tools and equipment which efficiently and thoroughly clean the entire grease trap.
If an employee or professional is cleaning out the grease trap, observe how much grease and solids are removed. If it seems like a lot of grease build-up is being removed each time, increase the deep clean to twice a month and see if things improve.
2. Stop Foul Odors
Perhaps unsurprisingly, if a grease trap is left uncleaned for too long foul smells will linger throughout the kitchen. This is due to what is building up in the grease trap: a mix of old grease, food, and oil. These substances will go rancid and need to be removed from the kitchen environment.
A clean smelling kitchen will not only assure your customers that the space is well-looked after and hygienic, but it will also enable your cooks and employees to focus on preparing the food rather than be distracted by unsettling smells.
3. Your Grease Trap Will Last Longer
Most grease traps cost between $150-200 and depending on the amount of use, they can work well for years. While it might not seem like too much of an expense, if you do not care properly for your grease trap, it can mean frequent replacements and mounting, unplanned for costs.
The sulfur gas released from food waste and oils is very toxic and can lead to such severe damage to steel that the grease trap has to be entirely replaced. You might also want to consider switching to a plastic grease trap since these are less susceptible to sulphuric acid damage.
If you have your grease trap regularly cleaned, the tank will last far longer. A well-maintained grease trap will also ensure that it is always working at top efficiency, meaning your kitchen can run smoothly.
4. Avoid Expensive Repairs
One of the biggest incentives to have a professional regularly clean out your grease trap is the money you will save in the long term.
Ignoring your grease trap will lead to sulphuric acid damage, severe blockages, and overspills. These plumbing emergencies can even bring your kitchen to a standstill because they impeded water flow. Alongside expensive and sometimes lengthy repair work, your kitchen will face a loss in profit until the blockages are cleared or the damage repaired.
A broken grease trap could also allow grease or food waste to escape into the main sewer line and cause a more severe blockage there. These repairs can be even more expensive and might even result in fines if they cause damage or block water flow to nearby businesses or homes.
Taking the simple step of scheduling regular deep cleaning will prevent these serious build-ups from ever developing and you will end up saving hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in the long run.
5. Prevent Difficult and Lengthy Cleans
Regular grease trap cleaning will also make your life a lot easier. That’s because when you clean them, it will be a quicker and simpler process. If the grease trap is left uncleaned for too long, the grease and waste will form a thick, hard layer at the bottom and sides of the trap and become almost impossible to remove without the help of a professional.
The Bottom Line
A grease trap is essential to the smooth running of any large kitchen and should never be ignored. To ensure that it isn’t being overloaded with grease and solids, come up with a regular cleaning schedule and hire a professional plumbing service to do a deep clean every three months. Not only will you keep your kitchen hygienic, but you will save a lot of money too!